Isn’t it strange how, not so many years ago, if an artist worked with a commercial brand, or its agency, they were ‘selling out’. That concept changed with the connected world, when what had previously been controlled by a gatekeeper was out in the open.

Or art was appropriated by the creative industries and remixed – often to an artist’s chagrin – to make a commercial, or positioned as an idea.

Slowly, as revenues streams were cut (by successive governments, or by the aforementioned internet), so some artists have embraced brands and agencies; selling out is no longer seen as selling out. Musicians and sneaker brands, being just one example. In fact, it can often be the platform that transforms an artist from unknown to household name – think Levi’s advertising and Babylon Zoo. Of course, artists still get ripped off – intentionally, as well as in a more homage kind of way. It’s been happening for years; a more recent example being the award-winning advert for Honda, Cog.
Aside: Advertising, of course, isn’t beyond ripping itself off, as anyone who knows Adland’s Badlander concept and Joe La Pompe will attest.

It’s sad, really, as there is a lot artists can get from agencies and their clients, as well as a lot those same agencies and clients can learn from artists. Not least about left-field ideas, or new ways to look at old problems. Yet, a distance remains between the two – one that’s not easy to shorten. 

A few weeks ago, I spotted my friends over at Imperica had launched a new service, Imperica Connect. It’s a simple premise: bridging the gap between art and commerciality. It gets agencies some different ideas into the mix – that all-important creative edge – and artists get paid/further recognition. It’s a win-win situation for all concerned. And it might just make artists less wary of ‘creatives’ and agencies more appreciative of thinking that’s not led by navel-gazing ad-types.